Murray, Haydn H. Department of Geological Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
Last reviewed:February 2021
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The primary ore used to produce aluminum metal and alumina (Al2O3). Bauxite (see illustration) is a naturally occurring weathering product composed of one or more aluminum hydroxide minerals, such as gibbsite [Al(OH)3], boehmite [AlO(OH)], and diaspore [AlO(OH)]. The major impurities in the bauxite ore are clay minerals (usually kaolinite), quartz (SiO2), iron, and titanium oxides. Bauxite is the result of intense leaching in tropical and subtropical areas, a process called laterization. Most bauxite deposits are within 30° of the Equator, and are generally found on plateaus in stable areas where they had sufficient geologic time to form and were protected from erosion. See also: Aluminum
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